Spelling mistakes, typos and poor grammar can cost money

An online entrepreneur in UK is lamenting over their educational system that is turning out graduates or job seekers with poor spelling ability.

Charles Duncombe, who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites and who personally recruits staff says that he gets shocked at the poor quality of written English by the applicants. This means spelling errors and poor grammar.

An analysis of website figures show a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. He says he measured the revenue per visitor to the tightsplease.co.uk website and found that the revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected.

Why is spelling or grammar, for that matter, important when doing business in the internet? It is because, according to Duncombe, when you sell or communicate on the internet 99% of the time it is done by the written word.

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI), whose mission is to help create and sustain the conditions in which businesses in the United Kingdom can compete and prosper for the benefit of all has also echoed the same concern. But that many employers are now investing in remedial literacy lessons for their staff to correct the defects.

This is not, however, solely a British problem. This is a global phenomenon, and with the appearance of the ubiquitous cell phones or mobile phones, it has gotten worse. People sometimes get carried away and inadvertently uses text speak.

In fact some of these gaffes or bloopers were already happening before.

Back track to June 15, 1992, in a Trenton, N.J., classroom, when sixth-grader William Figueroa stood in front of his class and spelled the word P-O-T-A-T-O on the board — only to have then Vice President Dan Quayle “correct” him by having him add an “E” at the end. This has always hounded and defined Quayle as a feeble-minded politician.

You must have heard also about how “Google” came about. It wouldn’t have its name if someone hadn’t botched its original moniker. Playing off the term “googolplex,” a Stanford University student suggested the search engine be named “Googol.” But when checking the availability of the word as an Internet domain, the student misspelled it “Google.” The company decided to leave it as it was, even after realizing the error, and look how the name has made an impact on humanity.

Some typos are less costly, but no less embarrassing.

But, typos, poor grammar and misspellings together is bad for business as it raises concerns of trust and credibility of the company.


2 comments on “Spelling mistakes, typos and poor grammar can cost money

  1. Anna Farlow says:

    I lost count of how many mistakes were in this article!

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